19th May Wesak
Written by Anne Newman - Monday 13th May 2019
The first time I heard
about Wesak, also known a Vesak , was on a visit to Portugal in
2003. We were staying in a small B& B in Monchique in the
mountains and the owner invited us to join her one evening at the
local Tibetan Buddist Centre. a lovely evening with reciting and then
sharing food and talk.
Afterwards, while taking to some of the
Tibetan woman, they started talking about the upcoming Wesak
celebration on the following full moon. They were putting up prayer
flags and planting the garden area around the Stupa.
They then talked
about heading down to the beach at Portimau to release fish, lobsters
and crabs into the ocean. It’s part of the celebration of Wesak,
birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in what is
known as a 'symbolic act of liberation' of giving freedom to those
who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will.
The celebration will include the practices of Giving, Virtue and Cultivation and the doing of good and meritorious deeds.
Giving usually involves bringing food to offer and share, as well as supplies for the temple and symbolic offerings for the shrine. Virtue is observed by re-affirming commitment to the moral precepts. Cultivation can include chanting, meditation and listening to sermons.
Wesak Day is an officially recognized United Nations (UN) holiday that celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The older tradition of Wesak is to celebrate three events Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death . There are some more recent Buddhist schools and groups that celebrate just the birth and others only the Enlightenment.
Due to diverse Buddhist cultures around the world, Wesak day is celebrated on different dates by different traditions. Wesak Day date also varies every year as it follows the lunar calendar.
also commonly known as Buddha (enlightened one), lived in present-day
India and Nepal between the sixth and fourth century BCE. His
teachings focused on messages about compassion, peace and goodwill.
Millions around the world follow the teachings of the Buddha today.
In 2012 some of us celebrated Wesak at the Well on Hill of Tara; 8 Sundays of mindfulness meditation finding peace & calm. Nora.
You can read about our experience on our archived website - click here for the page for our experience.
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Anne is sharing a series of events throughout the year - you can find them listed by clicking to the link Other Notable Dates and Festivals.